Acer may be known for its consumer laptops, but the company also makes some enticing notebooks for workers. Acer's lineup of business laptops includes thin-and-light systems, flexible 2-in-1s and powerful workstations. They're generally pretty affordable, too. Here are our top picks based on different needs and budgets.
Best Overall Business Laptop
Acer TravelMate P648
Acer's most well-rounded work machine is the TravelMate P648. The 14-inch system offers a durable design and strong security – including a fingerprint reader and hardware encryption that's enabled by default. Plus, the P648 boasts better graphical capabilities than you might expect from a laptop in this price range. It doesn't have the most comfortable keyboard, and its battery could stand to last longer on a charge, but the TravelMate P648 is still worth a look.
Best Business Laptop for Commuters
Acer Aspire S 13
Commuters will appreciate the Aspire S 13's thin-and-light design; this is a system that won't weigh you down. It also boasts zippy performance, long battery life and a bright 13.3-inch display. That's a pretty impressive feature set for a laptop that's less than $800. Just remember that the Aspire S 13 lacks the business-class security and durability credentials you'll find on most systems in the TravelMate line.
Best 2-in-1 Business Laptop
Acer Aspire R 15
Acer's Aspire R 15 is a really flexible laptop, with a bend-back display that folds a full 360 degrees so you can use the system like a large tablet. Plus, you get a roomy 15.6-inch display and a comfortable keyboard, all at a relatively affordable price point. We wish it had support for an active stylus, though, which would make its folding design feel more useful.
Best Budget Laptop for Business
Acer TravelMate P246
The TravelMate P2 offers good bang for your buck, combining solid performance, a sharp 14-inch display and a nice keyboard for just $499. But even though the P2 bears the TravelMate brand name, it lacks some security features you get on pricier systems in the line.
Specifically, it lacks hardware-based encryption, a feature that you'll find on virtually every other business-class laptop on the market. On the bright side, the P2 is more affordable than systems in pricier TravelMate P4 or P6 lines.
Best Chromebook for Business
Chromebook 14 for Work
The aptly named Acer Chromebook 14 for Work boasts better security and manageability features than you'll find on most competing Chromebooks. The 14-inch laptop offers an integrated Platform Module to protect your files, including files stored in the cloud. Plus, it comes with the Chrome Device Management panel installed, which is handy for helping you – or your IT staff – preconfigure apps and set restrictions for company-owned machines.
New Acer Aspire and Swift LaptopsAcer Aspire laptops Credit: Acer
Sometime in late Spring or early Summer 2017 Acer is set to release four new Aspire laptops as well as two new Swift laptops. The Aspire series is a classic line of functional black machines and the models will include the Aspire 1, Aspire 3, Aspire 5, and Aspire 7. As the name suggests the Aspire 1 will be the least expensive and least powerful (sporting only a Pentium or Celeron processor), and as you go higher in number the features improve and multiply. If you’re looking for a business laptop and you want a new Acer we recommend starting at an Aspire 3 with an Intel Core i5 and going from there based on what you need.
In addition to the solidly built Aspire line, Acer will be releasing two beautifully sleek Swift notebooks predictably named Swift 1 and Swift 3 (there’s also a special edition version of the Swift 3). The Swift line has a glossy chassis (available in pink, grey, navy and gold) and a textured keyboard, but much like the Aspire line the lower the number the less power you’ll get. The Swift 1 comes with a Celeron or Pentium processor while the Swift 3 can be configured with a Core i3, i5, or i7.
How We Evaluate Laptops
Every laptop on this list was reviewed on our sister site, BusinessNewsDaily.com. We use precise, replicable testing procedures to evaluate products and help our readers make informed buying decisions.
Our methods include industry-standard synthetic benchmark tests, including the Geekbench 3 performance test, the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited graphics test and the Laptop Mag Battery Test (also from a sister site). Then, we run a variety of in-house tests to assess each laptop's file-transfer speed, display brightness and accuracy, and more. We interpret those results from a business and IT professional's point of view to determine which machines make the most sense for companies. For more information on how we evaluate laptops, check out our testing guide.
What You Need to Know Before Buying an Acer Laptop
Acer's laptop line spans a wide range of security, durability and manageability options. Here's a rundown of what you can expect to see from the brand.
Acer TravelMate vs. Aspire vs. Chromebook
Work-ready Acer laptops can be found in three distinct lines. Here's a breakdown:
- TravelMate: Acer's business-class laptops all fall under the TravelMate line. These notebooks usually come equipped with extra durability credentials, so they can withstand drops, dings, dust, extreme temperatures and other environmental variables. You can also expect solid security options, including fingerprint readers and hardware-based encryption on most models. But note that the TravelMate P2 line lacks business-class security features, despite bearing the TravelMate name.
- Aspire: Don't expect business-class durability or security credentials from laptops in the Aspire lineup; these are consumer-focused systems. However, individual business users should still give them a look, since they boast slick, portable designs and plenty of power.
- Chromebook: Acer also sells one Chromebook model that's designed for business users, with built-in manageability options and a durable design. Chromebooks won't meet the needs of all workers, though, due to the fact that they run on Google's simplified Chrome OS operating system.
A variety of security options are available on Acer's business laptops, including:
- Encryption: A Trusted Platform Module ensures your work files stay private by encrypting data at the hardware level. You'll find the feature on TravelMate P4 and P6 systems.
- Biometric security: A fingerprint reader – which lets you unlock your laptop just by touching it – is available on some Acer systems.
- Lock slot: TravelMate laptops all comes with a special lock slot that lets you physically chain your laptop to your desk to deter thieves.
Many of Acer's business laptops offer special manageability tools, such as:
- vPro: Some higher-end TravelMate laptops come with secure manageability options via Intel vPro technology. vPro is a remote management platform baked right into high-end Intel processors, allowing you or your IT team to access laptops at the hardware level, even when a system has been powered down. It's useful for running group policy and software updates as well as locating, locking or wiping laptops that have been lost or stolen.
- Deployment: In contrast with manufacturers such as Lenovo, Dell and HP, Acer doesn't offer on-site deployment services for business laptops. However, TravelMate systems come with Acer's Smart Setup software, which guides you through server configuration and device deployment.
TravelMate laptops are Acer's toughest.
- MIL-SPEC: TravelMate laptops come with MIL-SPEC durability credentials. That means they are certified to withstand drops, dings, vibrations, humidity, extreme temperatures and more.
A couple of services are available to ensure the reliability of Acer laptops, including:
- Warranties: A two-year warranty, which covers hardware defects, is provided with all TravelMate laptops. You also have the option to purchase an extended warranty to cover accidental damage.
- Tech support: Acer technical support is available online and over the phone for all in-warranty laptops. Additionally, support for out-of-warranty systems is available for a fee. That coverage includes software and hardware issues, network setup, device upgrades, malware removal, device backup and more.
Most Acer laptops ship with lots of preinstalled software. That includes some useful utilities as well as lots of bloatware.
- Operating System: Windows 10 comes standard on most Acer laptops. However, some TravelMate systems can be configured with Windows 7 Professional at checkout. Acer also provides good driver support online for users who want to downgrade from Windows 10 to Windows 7.
- Utilities: A handful of useful Acer utilities come installed on TravelMate laptops. That includes the ControlCenter app, which gives you quick access to information about your computer's health and hardware configuration. We also like the Dust Defender app, which temporarily reverses your laptop's airflow to help clean the vents and prevent overheating. Finally, Power Management is a handy tool that lets you see, at a glance, what's draining your laptop's battery life.
- Bloatware: You'll also find plenty of potentially unwanted software (aka bloatware) on most Acer laptops. That includes games like Candy Crush and social media apps such as Twitter.
Laptop design varies widely between Acer's different lines. TravelMate systems generally boast modest boxy designs, but they're made from tough materials like carbon fiber. The Aspire line includes systems with slimmer, sleeker profiles. And you'll see plenty of variety among Acer's other laptops; the Chromebook 14 for Work, for example, sports a glossy Gorilla Glass lid.